The Horn of Africa continues to be at the centre of international news as the conflict in Ethiopia escalates. As yet, there are no direct effects on Somalia, where Ethiopian AMISOM (African Union Mission in Somalia) troops have not been withdrawn nor reduced. This possibility is a cause for alarm for national and international decision-makers.
On November 11th, a suicide bomber attacked an AMISOM convoy in Mogadishu, killing two bystanders. The vehicles came from Villa Baidoa and were carrying a delegation that included US citizens. The group had arrived in the capital on November 9th, to discuss in detail the continuation of the Mission, also in light of regional developments.
The attack was claimed by Al Shabaab terrorists, as was another one the next day on civil servants in Mogadishu; three people were injured. It is in the interest of terrorists to project an image of strength and activity of the threat they represent and thus be able to influence the international response and the support to the Federal Authorities. Certain defections, also of importance, testify to the difficulties on the ground.
In the meantime, however, the credibility of the Institutions continues to be measured not only by security, but also by the elections for Parliament. An order by Prime Minister Roble to proceed rapidly with the voting operations for the Lower House, to be completed by the end of the year is therefore recorded; also the opposition and the United States express this hope. The operations, so far only partial, should formally begin on 16 November.
This would postpone the vote for and the inauguration of the President to 2022 – a considerable delay on the initial timetable, not far from Farmajo’s self-appointed two-year term. The reduced tension over the vote may be the result of this de facto convergence, made more necessary by regional crises.
To manage them, US Secretary of State Blinken is expected in Kenya, as part of a tour that will also touch Nigeria and Senegal. On important dossiers – global ones, such as the pandemic and climate change above all, but also on regional ones such as security – the interlocutor for the US in this area and in this phase remains Nairobi. The bilateral strategic partnership on which Washington has chosen to focus is not in question as of now.